smartphone giant Xiaomi has just unveiled their first electric car.

The new Xiaomi car launch is backed by Xiaomi’s CEO, who aims to become one of the world’s top five automakers.

Xiaomi, the Chinese giant we all know for smartphones and electronics, will soon be taking on the automotive sector. On December 28, they unveiled their very first electric car model. 

It’s called the SU7, and ‘SU’ isn’t just any acronym; it stands for “Speed Ultra”. Lei Jun is pitching this sedan as a “technological marvel”, boasting a “super electric motor” that promises to leave even Tesla and Porsche’s EVs in the dust.

Bold claim, isn’t it?

Xiaomi’s flashy debut comes at a time when China’s auto market – the largest globally – is grappling with its own set of challenges. There’s an excess in capacity and a dip in demand, sparking a price war that’s brutal.

But does that deter Lei? Not at all. He’s set his sights on making Xiaomi a top-five global automaker in the next 15 to 20 years, aiming to elevate China’s automobile industry.

He’s dreaming of creating one that can stand toe-to-toe with the likes of Porsche and Tesla. That’s a tall order, but then again, Xiaomi is no stranger to climbing steep mountains.

So what sets the SU7 apart? Apparently, it’s an extension of Xiaomi’s already popular ecosystem. Imagine seamless integration with Xiaomi’s mobile apps and devices.

Bill Russo, CEO of Shanghai-based Automobility, points out Xiaomi’s unique position. With a strong base of ‘Mi Fans’ already hooked onto their smart devices, Xiaomi’s foray into smart cars could be a game-changer.

The SU7 will roll out in two versions: one with a driving range of up to 668km and another stretching up to 800km on a single charge.

Tesla’s Model S maxes out at around 650km, in case you need a direct comparison.

Pricing details are still under wraps, but Lei hints that it’ll be a premium tag, yet one that’ll make everyone “nod in agreement”. 

Xiaomi, currently ranked fifth in China’s smartphone market, is charting a new course beyond its core business. This move into EVs, first signalled in 2021, mirrors a broader trend among Chinese tech giants like Huawei and Baidu.

With a commitment to pour US$10 billion into autos over a decade, Xiaomi is one of the few new entrants in China’s EV market to get the green light from authorities. Their cars will be rolling out of a Beijing factory run by a unit of state-owned automaker BAIC Group, boasting an annual capacity of 200,000 vehicles.

In the crowded Chinese EV market, Xiaomi’s biggest rival is likely to be BYD, which holds a one-third market share, while Tesla has a 9 per cent slice.

Check out more green rides here, or check out our latest videos on Ignition Labs TV!

Sean Loo

Ignition Labs' resident editor loves all things retro, even though he was born in the late 90s. His main job encompasses tons of driving (and a massive carbon footprint), but he swears he turns off the lights each time he leaves his room.

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